From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will repave the two-way bicycle lane on 15th Street NW.
The news was announced at the monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont on Wednesday, July 12. The repaving will be finished by the end of the summer, according to Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, The path runs through Smith’s district.
The bike lanes are in serious need of assistance, with southbound lanes between Massachusetts and K Streets often resembling a washboard.
On his website, Smith adds that there will also be new signs and markings on the path. The news came after the last November’s ANC 2B resolution calling for improvements to the path, and subsequent lobbying of the DC Council.
Smith has also announced that, after ANC prodding, DDOT has agreed to a request to coordinate the pedestrian walk signals through Dupont Circle. It will no longer be necessary for pedestrians to stand on the median between four lanes of traffic when crossing into or out of the circle.
Few details are available, but a cyclist and a car collided around 4 pm on Tuesday afternoon at 15th and T Streets NW. Northbound traffic on 15th was closed for a short while.
The DC Police Department tweeted the incident:
@DCPoliceDept: (1/2) Traffic Alert: Accident involving a cyclist at 15th and T St, NW. Northbound traffic on 15th St is shut down until further notice.
@DCPoliceDept: (2/2) PT is an adult male; he’s going in &out of consciousness/taken to a local hospital. Take EB Swann St,14th St and 16th St/7066.
The two-way bike lanes are on the west side of 15th Street, which is a one-way northbound street at T Street.
Editor’s note: Mary Burgan writes for Borderstan as the Borderstan Movie Fan and has lived in the Dupont-Logan area since 1995. For the record, she is a strong supporter of bike lanes, public transportation and a myriad of environmental causes that will make our city and planet a better, cleaner place to live. She and her husband do not own a car and walk most everywhere. Borderstan would love to hear from you on any number of subjects related to the Dupont-Logan-U Street area, including bike lanes and laws. Got an idea for a column? Email us at [email protected]
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From Mary Burgan. Leave a comment or email her at [email protected]
Biking laws in the District need updating. The language of the District law seems designed to apply to special populations such as courier services, but there are not many rules for growing population of ordinary bike riders. The city has tried to meet the needs of ordinary riders by constructing bike lanes and establishing the Bike Share program but, while these measures have increased bike riding, they haven’t established better rules for the road.
For example, the north/south lane on 15th Street NW has created confusion for all parties. This is especially true at the intersection of 15th and P Streets, where the left turn lane signal for northbound cars is unexpected. Some cars ignore it. Others obey, only to be assaulted by loud honks from behind. Nevertheless the bike riders in that bike lane rely on cars, and pedestrians, obeying that signal.
The dramatic increase in bicycle traffic in the past two years is a wonderful contribution to the neighborhood and its environment, nobody doubts that. But the increase also calls for some changes in the old laws as well as new attitudes.
Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
From Michelle Lancaster. Got a tip for Michelle? Send her an email.
Today is Dedicated to the Worker Bees Stuck in Offices
I know. Either you’re still off work and enjoying all that DC or the JFK terminal in New York has to offer, or you have just attempted to find the end of the Internet at work during the slowest week of the year. So if you notice that today’s issue is link-heavy, consider it our little present to our worker bees out there who are stuck in the office on the next to the last day of 2010.
BTW, we hope you enjoy the special Borderstan New Year banner at the top of the page, another creation of Neil MacLean. He was a U Street resident until he recently moved to Brooklyn (but still works with DC clients).
Tree Lighting in Arts District
The coordinators of the Arts District branding project sent out email invitations last week to come to the “First Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony n the Arts District” at the Reeves Center, 14th and U Streets NW. Around 30 people, including Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) turned out for the 5 pm tree lighting. Andrea Doughty, one of the Arts District branding project coordinators, said that the final branding logos will be unveiled the week of December 20, and that the lamppost banners “are coming very very soon.” The banners were originally scheduled to have been up the first weekend of this month. (See Stuff You Might Have Missed: Arts District Update from December 6 and Wrap-up of Last Arts District Branding Public Meeting from November 10.)
“Make liquor licenses collaborative, not adversarial”
Natalie Avery, former executive director of the MidCity Business Association, has a piece at Greater Greater Washington on how to make the liquor-license process in DC more collaborative and less adversarial. (Disclosure: Borderstan is a member of MCBA.) Borderstan’s Tom Hay has written extensively about Hank’s Oyster Bar and its desire to vacate its Voluntary Agreement and expand into the adjacent empty storefront. As Avery notes about Hank’s:
From Berrak Sarikaya
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) began extending and revamping the 15th St. bike lane in late October, which was originally put in place in the fall of 2009. One completed, the bike lane will extend north to Euclid from U St. NW and south to E St. from Massachusetts Ave. NW. The two-lane work on the stretch from V St. south to Massachusetts Ave. is completed.
The original bike lane was one-way southbound. Now the protected bike lane — it is on the west side of 15th St. between parked cars and the sidewalk — is becoming two-way, complete with a yellow stripe dividing the lane.
While some very visible parking spaces have been lost at certain cross streets along 15th St., DDOT says that there will actually be 7.5 additional spaces between N and V St. NW; details below.
From Tom Hay
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has begun work on the extension of the 15th Street NW separated or “cycle track” bike lanes. The first phase of the bike lanes were completed in November 2009 and run southbound from U Street NW to Massachusetts Avenue on the west side next to the curb. Riders northbound share a lane with traffic.
Extension of Lanes
The extension will continue to Pennsylvania Avenue on the south and W Street on the north. Long term plans call for a further extension north to Euclid Street NW. In addition, the bike lanes will now be two-way. Work is expected to take several weeks.
Pilot Project Results
DDOT has also released a detailed report on the pilot project, interim results and next steps. Among the noteworthy benefits of the bike lanes has been a reduction in the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit and an increase in the number of bicyclists utilizing 15th Street.
The report noted, and many nearby residents agree, that bicyclists are not the only ones using the dedicated lanes. Joggers, scooters, wheelchairs, pedestrians and skateboarders are also frequently seen using the lanes.
In recent years the District has acknowledged the importance of bicycles in the transportation mix. The DDOT Bicycle Master Plan lays out future plans for a more bicycle friendly city.
The DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) has just put out an online survey on the 15th Street bike lane and traffic configuration. There are 48 questions and it will probably take about 10 minutes to complete the survey; there are also numerous places for written comments. The questions cover the bike lane as well as current traffic conditions and general safety on 15th Street, especially for pedestrians.
Paper copies are also being distributed to residents on live on or near 15th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and U Street NW.
The contraflow bike lane was installed last November after extensive studies about what to do with the 15th Street traffic pattern–one of the options was to make 15th Street two-way, adding southbound traffic.
The southbound bicycle lane on 15th Street NW has turned into a two-way bike lane and, sometimes, a multi-purpose lane. Southbound cyclists now regularly share the lane with northbound cyclists. In addition, the dedicated lane–between the curb and parked cars on the west side of the street–sometimes hosts rollerbladers, skateboarders, parents with strollers, joggers and motorized wheelchairs.
The bike lane opened last November as a pilot program. The lane’s purpose is to give bikers a safe, wide lane between the curb and parked cars to ride southbound on 15th Street–which is a one-way, northbound traffic street north of Massachusetts Avenue. In addition, the city created a shared lane on the east side of 15th Street; the far right lane is to be shared by northbound cars and bikes and there is signage on the pavement to that effect.
The dedicated curb-side bike lane grew out of the DC Department of Transportation’s study of what to do with 15th Street: basically, whether to leave car traffic one-way or turn it into a two-way street. The removal of one lane of northbound car traffic has also effectively slowed the speed of car traffic on 15th Street during evening rush hour.
One danger to northbound cyclists (and other users) is that there drivers are not looking for them. The signage put up by DDoT with the bike lane only instructs drivers to look for southbound cyclists when turning left off 15th. In addition, pedestrians now have to remember to watch for cyclists coming from the south.
So now what?
- Should the city bow to the reality of the situation and turn the southbound lane into a two-way bike lane?
- Is the bike lane wide enough for two-way bike traffic? Should the city widen it?
- What about other uses for the lane? Are joggers and rollerbladers a danger to cyclists?
- Are people using the bike lane for other purposes because the sidewalks are too narrow and/or in disrepair?
Now there is video from NBC-4. Photos of Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilmember Jack Evans and DDoT Director Gabe Klein taking a ceremonial bike ride in Borderstan’s 15th Street NW bike lane were the subject of numerous bl0g postings and tweets yesterday around town.
This thing has practically become a tourist attraction for the Dupont Circle-Logan Circle area.
Here is one more story about the 15th Street bike lane. This one started with a flurry of activity outside our house this morning: numerous trucks, mini street sweepers and DDoT workers were cleaning 15th Street. (The sweeping is nice since the city has already stopped with regular sweeping for the winter.)
Then, around 11:15 came the event. DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and DDoT Director Gabe Klein arrived for a [Fenty] press conference about 15th Street, bicycles and the new bike lane.
The southbound 15th Street NW bike lane (yes, the one between the curb and parked cars) has quickly become a TWO-WAY bike lane, with cyclists riding both north and south in it. Not surprising; everyone who lives in this part of Dupont-Logan same it coming
So a warning to bikers who are riding north: Cars are probably NOT going to see you. In addition, people getting out of their cars are opening their doors into the bike lane.
Please be extremely careful. All of the signs that have been put up are warning northbound motorists about southound bikers–there are no warnings for drivers about northbound cyclists. Those of us in the hood may remember to look for you, but that guy in the Mercedes SUV going 50 mph up 15th so he can get home to Potomac 3 minutes sooner? He won’t be looking for you. For one thing, he will be busy honking his horn at me as I try to park on the street.
Can you stand another posting on the 15th Street NW bike lane? I am nearing my limit, but here goes.
DDoT told me yesterday that the contraflow-southbound bike lane on 15th Street NW–the one that will between parked cars and the west curb–should be operation by week’s end. Parked cars on the west side of 15th Street will be between the bike lane and northbound traffic. The lane will run just about 1 mile from Massachusetts Avenue to Florida Avenue NW (its actually W Street at that corner).
DDoT also said that a northbound bike lane is still planned for the east side of 15th Street, but I did not get an installation time line. In addition, car traffic will eventually be only two lanes, not three, as was shown in the original plan for the street’s reconfiguration.
Call me relieved as I could not see how you could possibly add two bike lanes and still have three lanes of northbound car traffic. View the updated reconfiguration plan (page 2 of PDF): 15th NW Contraflow_100909
More continues on the contraflow bike lane on 15th Street NW between Massachusetts Avenue and Florida Avenue. The southbound bike lane will be on the west side of 15th between the curb and parked cars.
- 15th Street NW: Work Underway on Southbound Bike Lane
- 15th Street Southbound Bike Lane Installation Starts MONDAY (with links to additional postings plus a plan map)